In February 2015, special agents from the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security led a large-scale, interagency operation focused on resolving passport and visa fraud cases in the middle and southern district of Florida. Passport and visa fraud are federal felonies which often enable terrorism, drug trafficking, money laundering, and other crimes.
Operation Southern Wave involved nearly 150 participants, including representatives from the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Attorney General’s International Organized Crime Intelligence and Operations Center, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and other federal, state, and local law enforcement officers.
According to Special Agent in Charge of the Miami Field Office Bashnan, “An operation of this scope requires months of planning and strategic coordination with our law enforcement partners to de-conflict investigations at the local and federal levels and mitigate risks to our investigative personnel. Passport and visa fraud as well as identity theft are a growing concern in Florida and throughout the United States with major national security implications.”
During the operation, the Miami Field Office’s tactical operations center functioned as a mini fusion center, with communication systems de-conflicted to enable agencies to communicate with each other. Throughout the operation, the interagency agents and staff answered 395 requests for investigative intelligence, conducted 134 interviews, served two search warrants, and arrested 26 subjects.
Bashnan spoke positively about the success of the operation, saying “By collaborating with our partners, we were successful in maximizing our resources and sending a clear message that federal, state, and local law enforcement authorities will bring to justice any individuals who attempt to defraud the U.S. government.”
For more information about this operation, please follow the link below.
Diplomatic Security Executes Large Interagency Operation in Florida, State Department